Notre Dame Academy is committed to the optimal development of every student. The academy believes that for students to have the opportunity to achieve personal, academic, developmental and social success, we need to create positive, safe and health-promoting learning environments at every level, in every setting, throughout the school year.
Research shows that two components, good nutrition and physical activity before, during and after the school day, are strongly correlated with positive student outcomes. For example, student participation in the School Breakfast Programs is associated with higher grades and standardized test scores, lower absenteeism and better performance on cognitive tasks. Conversely, less-than-adequate consumption of specific foods including fruits, vegetables and dairy products, is associated with lower grades among students. In addition, students who are physically active through active transport to and from school, recess, physical activity breaks, high-quality physical education and extracurricular activities – do better academically. Finally, there is evidence that adequate hydration is associated with better cognitive performance.
This policy outlines Notre Dame’s approach to ensuring environments and opportunities for all students to practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors throughout the school day. Specifically, this policy establishes goals and procedures to ensure that:
- Students have access to healthy foods throughout the school day ‒ both through reimbursable school meals and other foods available throughout the school campus;
- Students receive quality nutrition education that helps them develop lifelong healthy eating behaviors;
- Students have opportunities to be physically active before, during and after school
- Schools engage in nutrition and physical activity promotion and other activities that promote student wellness;
- School staff are encouraged and supported to practice healthy nutrition and physical activity behaviors in and out of school;
II. School Wellness Committee
- Mrs. Tristian De’Angelo – Principal
- Mrs. Vivian Setlock – Cafeteria Manager
- Mrs. Sheila Milligan – Assistant Cafeteria Manager
- Mr. Ertel – Physical & Health Education
- Mrs. Susan Jacobi – Nurse
- Mrs. D. Terrell – School Conselor
Our school is committed to serving healthy meals to children, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat milk; that are moderate in sodium, low in saturated fat; and to meeting the nutrition needs of school children within their calorie requirements. The school meal program aims to improve the diet and health of school children, help mitigate childhood obesity, model healthy eating to support the development of lifelong healthy eating patterns and support healthy choices while accommodating cultural food preferences and special dietary needs.
Our school participates in USDA child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP). We are committed to offering school meals through the NSLP and SBP programs, and other applicable Federal child nutrition programs, that:
- Are accessible to all students;
- Are appealing and attractive to children;
- Are served in clean and pleasant settings;
- Meet or exceed current nutrition requirements established by local, state, and Federal statutes and regulations
- Promote healthy food and beverage choices using at least ten of the following
Smarter Lunchroom techniques:
− Whole fruit options are displayed in attractive bowls or baskets .
− Sliced or cut fruit is available daily.
− Daily fruit options are displayed in a location in the line of sight and reach of students.
− All available vegetable options have been given creative or descriptive names.
− Daily vegetable options are bundled into all grab-and-go meals available to students.
− All staff members, especially those serving, have been trained to politely prompt students to select and consume
the daily vegetable options with their meal.
− White milk is placed in front of other beverages in all coolers.
− Daily announcements are used to promote and market menu options.
To promote hydration, free, safe, unflavored drinking water will be available to all students throughout the school day. The school will make drinking water available where school meals are served during mealtimes. Students will be allowed to bring and carry (approved) water bottles filled with only water with them throughout the day.
Nutrition promotion and education positively influence lifelong eating behaviors by using evidence-based techniques and nutrition messages, and by creating food environments that encourage healthy nutrition choices and encourage participation in school meal programs. Students and staff will receive consistent nutrition messages throughout schools, classrooms, gymnasiums, and cafeterias. Nutrition promotion also includes marketing and advertising nutritious foods and beverages to students and is most effective when implemented consistently through a comprehensive and multi-channel approach by school staff, teachers, parents, students and the community.
The school will teach, model, encourage and support healthy eating by all students. Schools will provide nutrition education and engage in nutrition promotion that:
- Is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to promote and protect their health;
- Is part of not only health education classes, but also integrated into other classroom instruction through subjects such as math, science, language arts, social sciences and elective subjects;
- Includes enjoyable, developmentally-appropriate, culturally-relevant and participatory activities, such as cooking demonstrations or lessons, promotions, taste-testing, farm visits and school gardens;
- Promotes fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products, low-fat and fat-free dairy products and healthy food preparation methods;
- Emphasizes caloric balance between food intake and energy expenditure (promotes physical activity/exercise);
IV. Physical Activity
Children and adolescents should participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. A substantial percentage of students’ physical activity can be provided through a comprehensive school physical activity program. Physical education is the foundation of physical activity before, during and after school; staff involvement and family and community engagement and the school is committed to providing these opportunities. Schools will ensure that these varied physical activity opportunities are in addition to, and not as a substitute for, physical education.
The school will provide students with physical education, using an age-appropriate, sequential physical education curriculum consistent with national and state standards for physical education. The physical education curriculum will promote the benefits of a physically active lifestyle and will help students develop skills to engage in lifelong healthy habits, as well as incorporate essential health education concepts. The curriculum will support the essential components of physical education. All students will be provided equal opportunity to participate in physical education classes. Students in each grade will receive physical education for at least 60-89 minutes per week throughout the school year.
Classroom Physical Activity Breaks (Elementary and Secondary)
The school recognizes that students are more attentive and ready to learn if provided with periodic breaks when they can be physically active or stretch. Thus, students will be offered periodic opportunities to be active or to stretch throughout the day on all or most days during a typical school week. The school recommends teachers provide short (3-5-minute) physical activity breaks to students during and between classroom time at least three days per week. These physical activity breaks will complement, not substitute, for physical education class, recess, and class transition periods.
Teachers will incorporate movement and kinesthetic learning approaches into “core” subject instruction when possible (e.g., science, math, language arts, social studies and others) and do their part to limit sedentary behavior during the school day.
The school will support classroom teachers incorporating physical activity and employing kinesthetic learning approaches into core subjects by providing annual professional development opportunities and resources, including information on leading activities, activity options, as well as making available background material on the connections between learning and movement.
Along with spiritual and intellectual growth, the physical well-being of each of our students is a priority. Our cafeteria staff follows the guidelines of the National Child Nutrition Program with the objectives of promoting student health and reducing childhood obesity.
Our Physical Education and Health classes focus on activities, lessons, knowledge and skills that foster fitness and encourage students to make choices that will lead to life-long health.
Notre Dame Academy students also participate in the CHAMP Program (Choosing Healthy Activities through Mentoring and Play), sponsored by the Catholic Health System.
CHAMP program promotes healthy choices for students in grades 6-8. This program has brought the school into partnership with several members of the Catholic Health System. It offers students valuable lessons about nutrition and exercise. The students body mass index (BMI) are calculated at the beginning of the program and they are able to monitor their growth. The school coordinates their efforts with other programs including the cafeteria lunch program.
Many children consume at least half of their meals at school, and for many children, food served at school may be the only food they regularly eat. With more than 30 million children participating in the National School Lunch Program and more than 12 million participating in the School Breakfast Program, good nutrition at school is more important than ever Our school is committed to providing healthier foods.
In 2012, a critical step on the road to deliver healthier food to our school children when the U.S. Department of Agriculture released new rules that boosted the nutritional quality of the meals eaten by school children every day. The rules represent the first major revision of school meal standards in more than 15 years and make sure our kids' lunches and breakfasts will have more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, and less fat and sodium and set sensible calorie limits based on the age of children being served.
Based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, our school meals include these changes:
- More whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; low-fat milk dairy products; and less sodium and fat.
- The right portion. Menus are planned for grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 and will demonstrate to your child the right size portions.
We strive to help make our school a healthier place to learn by providing quality food and teaching children about the importance of nutrition and embracing a healthy active lifestyle.